Earl's Palace


The intriguing Earl’s Palace was once known as the finest example of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. One room features an interesting history of its builder, Earl Patrick Stewart, a bastard in every sense of the word, who was beheaded in Edinburgh for treason. He started construction in about 1600, but ran out of money and never completed it. When it's closed you can still get a good look at it from the garden. Admission includes the adjacent Bishop's Palace.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kirkwall attractions

1. Bishop's Palace

0.04 MILES

Right opposite St Magnus Cathedral, the ruined but attractive Bishop’s Palace was built in the mid-12th century for Bishop William the Old. There’s a good…

2. St Magnus Cathedral

0.07 MILES

Constructed from local red sandstone, Kirkwall's centrepiece, dating from the early 12th century, is among Scotland's most interesting cathedrals. The…

3. Orkney Museum

0.09 MILES

This labyrinthine display in a former merchant’s house gives an overview of Orcadian history and prehistory, including Pictish carvings and a display on…

4. Orkney Wireless Museum

0.27 MILES

This curious little museum is jam-packed with old radios and war memorabilia. Mostly local in character, it's an impressive collection.

5. Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin

0.29 MILES

Opened in 2018, this distillery and visitor centre on the waterfront is a new showcase for this tasty Orkney spirit. Tours run for an hour and include an…

6. Highland Park Distillery

0.86 MILES

This distillery, South of Kirkwall's centre, is great to visit. Despite a dodgy Viking rebrand, it's a serious distillery that malts its own barley; see…

7. Scapa

1.52 MILES

Two miles south of Kirkwall's centre, on the shores of Scapa Flow, this is one of two Orcadian whisky distilleries and, though less famous than Highland…

8. Mine Howe

4.82 MILES

On a farm at Tankerness, the mysterious Iron Age site of Mine Howe is an eerie underground chamber, about 1.5m in diameter and 4m high. Its function is…